Travel Comment
Ponderings on all aspects of travel - both at home and abroad.

Where in the world is...?

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Test your geographical knowledge with an online quiz. Photo / Martin Sykes
Test your geographical knowledge with an online quiz. Photo / Martin Sykes

Do you know which capital city is home to the world's oldest zoo? No, nor did I. Apparently it's Vienna.

But because the question said it was a city founded by the Celts, I answered Dublin. Wrong.

I'm very annoyed about that because it stopped me getting a perfect score in National Geographic's online quiz on world capitals.

Still, I guess nine out of 10 isn't bad. Especially since I didn't even know such online quizzes existed until I read an article on the topic from Associated Press. And it turns out there are stacks of them.

The National Geographic website alone has a huge range of geographical quizzes on everything from chocolate to pirates, including a set on environmental issues like global warming and a special series for children.

A more exciting test is the Traveler IQ Challenge where you have to click on a map to show the location of assorted cities, tourist destinations or famous monuments, and speed counts.

I chose places in Oceania and started off quite well - though I was a bit off-target when it came to placing some Indonesian and Malaysian cities - but as the questions got harder I started to struggle.

After two questions in a row about places in Australia I'd never heard of - Griffiths? - I gave up.

By contrast, a quiz on wonders of the world by travel writer Howard Hillman is a bit too easy and because you get to mark yourself there's no competitive edge either. On the other hand there's a lot of good background information.

The AP article was highly enthusiastic about GeoChallenge, a Playfish game also found on Facebook that "has its fast-clicking participants test their wits on a host of foreign trivia, such as flags" but the site was blocked from my work computer so I couldn't try it out.

However I did get through to a site called Wazzamba where I created an avatar called Hemi to wander round a virtual world - including, in my case, the pyramids at Giza - in search of tasts to carry out and earn points. It's quite fun and if you do well enough you can win travel prizes to real places.

But perhaps the most useful of the quiz sites I tried was Lizardpoint where you once again test your knowledge by clicking on a map to show where different capitals, countries or oceans are located. I did the world one first and got 35 out of 36 which was quite satisfying.

Then I opted for the Middle East - which actually extended into Central Asia - and managed 58 out of a possible of 75.

But the scariest thing for me was that I didn't know where Kyrgyzstan was. And I was to go there in a month's time. Thank goodness for on-line quizzes.

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